What to do if Disneyland reaches capacity during your visit, how to get “sold out” reservations days and how to deal when you’re there on the busiest days of the year.
If you’re going to Disneyland Resort, one thing people always ask me is:
“How busy do you think it’ll be?”
“What’s capacity at right now?”
“The days I want are sold out, how do I get reservations?”
Here’s more on Disneyland’s capacity and what that means for lines, increase in crowds and reservations.
Disneyland Resort Capacity
How many people does it take to reach capacity? Simply put, we don’t know exactly. Disney doesn’t release those numbers to the public, but the L.A. Times puts it at around 80,000 and that was before Galaxy’s Edge.
O.C. Register reports Disneyland park’s capacity hovers around the 85,000 mark and further explains that an average days sees about 51,000 visitors. For California Adventure, O.C. Register reports we’re looking at 50,000 for the maximum capacity and an average of 27,000 each day.
Now that Disneyland is reopened, the state reopening guidelines no longer applies. Here’s how those numbers breakdown below following the estimates from O.C. Register.
Quick Disneyland Capacity Numbers
- 85,000 Disneyland Park estimated capacity
- An average day is 51,000 at Disneyland Park
And California Adventure Park
- 50,000 California Adventure Park estimated capacity
- An average day is 27,000 at California Adventure Park
Disneyland is operating at lower capacity than in years past with the new reservation system in place. This allows them to better control crowds, traffic flow, staffing and more.
How to Visit Disneyland with Lower Capacity
Instead of talking about days when Disneyland reaches max capacity, I am now shifting to talk about how you can visit during the LOWEST crowd days ever, yet with the HIGHEST demand.
First, those with existing tickets should check their expiration dates, many have been extended!
Disneyland Capacity Crowds
It’s a rare thing, but it’s true—Disneyland can reach capacity and in 2021, capacity does not mean 100% full.
The new reservation system ensures Disneyland is fully staffed and prepared for the number of guests they expect on any given day. You can see the Disneyland availability calendar here.
How often does Disneyland reach capacity? Reservations open 120 days in advance for most ticket types.
But reservations often do not fill up until the week of on regular days. Some more popular days fill up quicker, like weekends and the days between Christmas and New Years.
Other days likely to reach capacity?s Major attraction or land openings and fourth of July.
How many people does it take to reach capacity? Simply put, we don’t know. Disney doesn’t release those numbers to the public, but the L.A. Times puts it at around 80,000 and that was before Galaxy’s Edge.
When did Disneyland last reach capacity? 12/27/19, 12/27/18 and again on 12/28/18. It also reached capacity on those same exact dates in 2017. Here’s the rundown of what happened and when:
- 12/27/19 Disneyland Park stopped selling tickets at 9:42 am, but California Adventure tickets remained available.
- 12/27/18 Disneyland Park closed for new guests around 1:00 pm and Disneyland stopped selling 1 day tickets to Disneyland Park, but California Adventure 1 day tickets were still available.
- 12/28/18 Disneyland Park again closed for new guests, but this time allowed guests to buy 1 day tickets and enter California Adventure, then be issued a specific return time to enter Disneyland. This was new, I’ve never seen this happen and can’t imagine the park would lighten up very much to allow new people in. It was also reported that all FASTPASSES in both parks were “sold out” or distributed by 3:00 pm.
- 12/27/17 Disneyland Park closed for new guests at 1:00 pm due to large crowds and a massive power outage affecting many attractions. Guests who previously entered Disneyland Park may be permitted back in at that time. Disneyland Park opened again to all guests at 5:00 pm
- 12/28/17 Disneyland closed to capacity at 11:00 am and stop selling tickets. Guests who had previously entered Disneyland Park were permitted back in at that time. Disneyland Park opened again to all guests at 12:55 pm. So you can see that they do their best to keep park gates open, but that’s not to say it will be comfortable once you do get inside.
What To Do if Disneyland Reservation are Full
Remember, now that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has opened, there’s a lot more room in the park and less chance of it reaching capacity. But there’s a few things you can do in advance to plan for capacity issues.
- Tickets & Reservations.
Before you even get to Disneyland and you’re considering when to go, research our yearly planning guide to get an idea of what’s going on and when.
Purchase tickets in advance to make full use of the new reservation system. Then book theme park reservations 120 days in advance, as each day of your trip opens for the most availability.
Another thing you can do prior is book dining reservations inside Disneyland Park 60 days in advance. Finding dining reservations is still tricky, I suggest using MouseDining to snag hard to get spots with their free alert system.
If you’re hoping to snag reservations for a sold out day, keep reading. Here’s some tips I’ve collected over the short period Disneyland has been operating with reservations.
- You still want a ticket attached to your account. Do not wait until you see a reservation to buy! They go that fast, there’s no time to buy.
- Add your ticket to your Disneyland account.
- Check the availability every morning, and random times throughout the day. Yes, it could be considered a full time job.
- Twitter accounts that watch reservations often tweet when become available again. I like this one for Magic Key holders.
- Last, most expensive tip? If you can make reservations at one of the Disney owned hotels, their reservations are from a different pool and might have some available.
What To Do if Disneyland Reaches Capacity
Disneyland Resort has not reached capacity in terms of no longer letting guests with tickets and reservations inside since reopening. This is the entire point of reservations.
During busier times of year Disneyland may halt park hopping options for Magic Key Holders and/or ticket holders.
Here’s some suggestions if you’re going on some of the most popular dates of the year:
Arrive early and make your favorite rides a priority during the morning hours. Only leave Disneyland Park if you don’t plan to return because there’s a chance you could be turned away. Also, on capacity days, security lines are exceptionally long. Even if you can get back in, you may not want to.
If you need parking before Disney lots open, try various hotels along Harbor Blvd. The Anaheim Hotel and Tropicana Inn (just to name a couple) both offer public parking when space is available.
Consider parking somewhere way off site and Ubering in. If you take an Uber, I suggest having the Uber drop you off at The Disneyland Hotel so you can access that security entrance instead.
Utilize Disney Genie Plus to get on multiple popular rides earlier in the day. Note that Disney Genie+ options can and will run out earlier in the day.
If you do leave the park and are hoping to get back in, a dining reservation might help plead your case.
Read up on things to do when it’s super crowded so you can do those once the crowds become too much. Above all, keep calm and if your nerves or patience gets the best of you, you might want to call it a day. Again, this doesn’t happen often but it’s best to prepare.
Need help planning your day at Disneyland Resort? Let me help! Plus, watch the replay of my Facebook live talking Disneyland capacity issues here.